Monday, August 29, 2016

El Lago del Bosque...

...diversión sin corte...amigos y español!
Sorry about that, I just burst into song. And in Spanish, no less.
These things happen after you've been at "El Lago del Bosque" having one of the best weeks of the year!

Allow me to explain.
"El Lago del Bosque" or "Lake of the Woods" for my anglophone friends, is a camp in Bemidji, Minnesota (official town motto: yeah, well we haven't heard of you, either) where you get to practice Spanish all day! Woohoo!

I realize this probably doesn't sound like the dream vacation hiding behind that giant sign on "The Price is Right" to everyone. 
But to me, it is heaven. So much heaven, in fact, that I forgot about the "camera function" on my phone and have about four usable photos for this whole blog post. With apologies...

The best parts of our best week of this year:
 #1: La Tienda = The Store
The camp has a bank (el banco!) where you can change dollars for real Mexican pesos and then use them to purchase all manner of sundries in the camp store. This was REVOLUTIONARY for the Little Dragans. Do you see those items around their necks? 
Yes, those are pan flutes.
Do you mean you don't have a pan flute? Why not? Now we have two. But I'm sorry, we can't lend you one. You should go buy your own pan flute like the Little Dragans did.
It was really nice to be able to let my kids go to a store by themselves and buy things. I realize this sounds so silly, but just to let them have that freedom here was really refreshing. 
They spent $40 each (that's 400 pesos) on coca-cola flavored gummies and Toblerone. Because I'm raising them correctly.

#2: La Comida = The Food
This terrible photo is meant to demonstrate the little song we sang before each meal.
But, sweet readers, the FOOD. Just, wow.
Every meal is based on the cuisine in a different Spanish-speaking country and is all super tasty and informative.
But do you know what the best part is?
I didn't have to shop for it.
I didn't have to put it in the cabinets.
I didn't have to prepare it.
I didn't have to listen to complaints about it.
I didn't have to clean it up.

It was perfect. 10/10. Highly recommend.

#3: Super Español = Super Spanish
Every night after dinner, a masked superhero flies in to award one or two campers with a special prize for speaking Spanish all day.
Little Guy did not win last year. B did. All year Little Guy wondered if this would be the year he would win. And he did!!! Check out his face when he won:
I mean, I just want to want ANYTHING that badly. The camera was shaking in this pic because I was crying I was so excited. 
Not to be outdone...
She won the next day. I'm not sure I would be any prouder of these two if they had won Nobel Prizes.

The rest of my pictures are either non-existent or just utter garbage, so I'll not subject you to them. Suffice it to say I could go on and on about the friends that we have made at this camp, the incredible staff who go out of their way to make this week what it is, or even the setting which is that beautiful wildness of northern Minnesota that I could never have known I would love as much as I do now. 

Summer Camp was an important part of my own upbringing, both because of the relationships I developed there and because of the independence I gained by going each year. 

There is a powerful possibility for reinvention at camp where you can step outside of your normal life and be someone a little different for a week. 
Someone a little more spontaneous, a little more relaxed, a little more open, a little more fun...

Maybe it's not that we're really different at camp. 
Maybe it's just that we're better versions of ourselves.

If you're interested in checking out Concordia Language Villages who have summer camps of many lengths, for all ages, and in FIFTEEN different languages, please check out their website!

On the last night, through her very sincere tears, B asked me why we couldn't just stay there all year long. 
I wish I'd had a better answer, because the truth is that I wish we could too.


  1. Great story! I'm in for next year for sure! Do you have a week picked out?

  2. Awesome! The schedule/registration comes out in September. I think we will aim for the same week, would love to coordinate with you all! Your kids will love it!

  3. Thanks for the awesome post! We hope to see you next summer! - Concordia Language Villages